Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I'd like to replace my Columbia PFG rain gear, which is effective but heavy. I'm considering going with a pullover jacket to eliminate the weight of the zipper. I know the trade-off is that it doesn't vent as well. For example, if I'm using it not in rain, but as a wind block, and I start to get a bit warm, I wouldn't be able to partially unzip it to cool off.
However, I wonder how much of a concern this really is in practice. I'm interested in hearing from anyone with actual experience with pullover style rain jackets and wind jackets/shirts, as I would use this for both purposes. I'm especially interested to hear from folks that have used one in a similar climate to mine (hot summer, mild winter [occasional freezes], and generally very humid).
It is really easy to overheat in a rain jacket while backpacking. Being able to vent is really important or you'll end up just as wet with the jacket on from sweating as you would have without it in the rain.
I’ve used both, in windbreaker and rain jacket versions - though with the advent of lightweight, waterproof jackets (like the Outdoor Research Helium jacket), I now let one garment serve two purposes. I hike in the Ohio River Valley (southern Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana), so I’m very familiar with hot and humid (“90” can refer to both the heat and humidity on any summer day.) You’re going to get warm and wet, regardless of what you wear.
With GoreTex and other pre-Pertex fabrics, I really didn’t notice much difference in venting because, even with a zipper and pit zips, I still overheated and ended up wet, just not from the rain. Pertex really seems to work for me; I can hike at a moderate pace in cooler weather and not overheat most of the time.
I tend, nowadays, to prefer zippered garments for one simple reason: in windy conditions (like when you want a windbreaker), pullovers are harder to put on; when they’re wet (after the rain stops), pullovers are hard to take off without getting your clothing wet. I do realize this may be user-error rather than garment design, but I don’t think so.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I have a pullover rain jacket (one of the last of the Brawny Gear silnylon rain tops), but it is extremely generously cut so there's lots of ventilation. If I had it to do over again, I'd have gotten something with a zipper and maybe even pit zips.
Edited by OregonMouse (09/13/1811:12 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I live in the PNW, and backpack in California, Oregon, Washington and such, so I don't have the same weather as you do, but I find I use rain jackets less and less. I have a Montane UL pullover rain jacket, and i can't wear it unless it's really, really cold out if I don't want to start sweating shortly after putting it on (I run pretty warm). Instead, more and more I wear my Montbell wind jacket when it's raining if it's warm to cool (down to about 35 degrees if I'm moving steadily). I find with the wind jacket I stay slightly cool (which is my preference, I don't like to be 'warm' when hiking) but nowhere near cold, without the clammy feeling or too-warm feeling I get from my rain jacket. And unless it's a hard or long-lasting rain, I don't get as wet as I would from sweat with my rain jacket.
When I do wear a rain jacket, I generally opt for my full-zip jacket for the reasons others have already delineated. I only take the pullover occasionally, and that's only because I bought the darn thing so I figure I have to use it.